Wednesday, 31 October 2018


Blessed Samhain.
As the veil thins
Worlds merge to be as one
Spirit walk among us
as we welcome our ancestors back to be with us.
The hounds of annwyn ride as the sun sets
collecting the souls of those who have left us
Where they will rest and reflect in the summerlands
either to wait for us
or to come back into our lives
A time to cleanse
to clear our hearts and minds of things that have befallen us,
of loves lost, friends gone,
of memories that hurt us
A time to start over
with joy in our hearts
and fire in our spirits
with the wisdom of the elders
and the teachings of our ancestors
It is a good time to be a witch
We know our responsibilities
our need to ensure the ways of the old ones are not forgotten
and that we pass on the teachings,
to those who wish to know.
Blessed Samhain,
By Pagan Wolf
Artist Unknown

The Ghostly Dog of Gwaenysgor

Flintshire Record Office - Archifdy Sir y Fflint

The residents of the quiet little village of Gwaenysgor have been thrown into a state of great excitement over the report that a ghost has made its appearance in one of the farm-houses near the village. Rumour says that this supernatural being made its headquarters at Ty Isa Farm, occupied by Mr Robert Jones, and of course makes its appearance at the ghostly hour of midnight. The ghost, it is said, comes in the form of a dog, and lies quietly on the floor, but the moment any one attempts to touch it, it vanishes in a most mysterious fashion, and its departure is accompanied by a ringing of bells, and other things necessary to make the story complete. Several, it is stated, have seen the ghost, and the excitement caused by its visit continues.”
From the Rhyl Record and Advertiser, 3rd December 1887
Image: PH/23/17 - Gwaenysgor, c.1910 (postcard).


Halloween is just around the corner, and if I’m being honest, I put my decorations up on September 1st; so I’ve been ready for a minute. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do during fall was reading anything and everything about Halloween. I wanted to share some of my personal favorites, in no particular order.


It’s a classic ghost story, how could it not be on the list? I grew up in Mount Vernon, New York just 25 minutes from Tarrytown, so this story holds a special place in my heart. I would take yearly trips to Sleepy Hollow with my class and was immediately enamored of the Hessian soldier searching for his head.

practical magic book coverPRACTICAL MAGIC BY ALICE HOFFMAN

Like every other book that has been made into a movie, don’t expect them to be alike. Sisterhood, witches, and finding out what’s most important? It’ll fill you with the same fuzzy feeling the movie did.


Most people know Shirley Jackson from The Lottery (which is just as unsettling). This book freaks me out so much, that I refuse to read it at night. Besides ghosts and poltergeists, the house comes to life. When you’re finished reading it, check out the new Netflix show based on the book.


This book reminds me of the Japanese version of Hill House (the TV show). A family moves into a seemingly amazing apartment…that’s built next to a graveyard. As things start to get worse, other tenants begin to move out. Eventually, the young family has the whole building to themselves, or so they think.


Voodoo and Louisiana, those were literally the only things I needed to know when I bought this book. When the governor of Louisiana’s daughter is kidnapped, everything around him starts unraveling: from family curses to loa spirits. This is a must-read for those who love stories about otherworldly spirits.


Yes, we all know the story of Dracula, or at least the basic retelling. It’s told as a series of diary entries. Though a common misconception, it’s not based on Vlad Tepes Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler, ruler of Wallachia, Romania. Stoker just took the name Dracula while researching the history of Wallachia. Regardless, Vlad and Stoker’s Dracula are tied together.


I didn’t start reading Octavia Butler until I was in high school when I was on the hunt to Sci-Fi books that were written by black authors. But it wasn’t until college that I picked up Fledgling. It’s a vampire story, but it combines elements of race and sexuality. It’s one of those books that needs to be read more than once as there are so many themes that need to be dissected.


I love horror stories that have a psychological twist to them. It shows how our deepest fears can affect us. Pennywise preys on certain fears and the only way to defeat him…well, It, is if the characters of the novel acknowledge that what is happening isn’t real.


It took me forever to pick up this novel. I knew all the songs from the musical by the time I was 10, but didn’t realize it was a book until high school. Phantom has been described as both a Gothic horror novel and a romance, though a man who is obsessed with you to the point of kidnapping isn’t a romance. Leroux’s masterpiece fills you with a terror that the musical adaptation could never emulate.


If you loved Grahame-Smith’s hit Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you’re going to love Vampire Hunter. Vampires on the side of the Confederacy want to keep slavery in tact in order to keep control of their food supply. Who better to stop them than Honest Abe? It takes historical events that we learned in school in a whole different direction.


H.P. Lovecraft is a Sci-Fi legend…but he’s also pretty racist. LaValle decided to revisit the Lovecraft story “The Horror of Red Hook” but through the eyes of a black man who works for Robert Suydam. Instead of Brooklyn, it takes place in Harlem in the 1920s. It won a plethora of awards and is already on the roster to be a show for the AMC network.


Zombies and The Civil War are not things that would typically go together, but oh my gosh does Justina make it work. Like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Ireland blends actual history with fantasy. Even though slavery has been abolished, black and Native American girls are forced to go to schools to protect affluent white society from the “shamblers.” The main character, Jane, wants to complete her education and make it home to her mother. But of course, things don’t go that smoothly.


I’m a Hocus Pocus stan (do the cool kids still use that word). So much so that I have a black-flame candle tattoo. When I found out there was going to be a book version of my favorite movie and a sequel attached to it, I had to get it. The first half of the book tells the story we all know and love, while the second half focuses on Max and Allison’s daughter coming face to face with the Sanderson sisters.

The Witch Shall Fly

~ The Witch Shall Fly ~
Witchcraft trickles from her lips
As moonbeams lavish gold;
Her nights are laced with sorcery
And alchemy of old.
As hollows full of sleeping souls
Dream of envisioned realms,
She whispers to the universe
Her wishes and her spells.
A cat upon the table purrs
As fragrant tributes burn;
With grace and wisdom, she applies
The methods she has learned.
Her sheer devotion to the craft
Is etched upon her skin;
A child of sun and moon and stars—her magic blooms within.
The dancing flames of candlelight
Conjure a soothing glow;
Her home is worn and simplified
But cherished even so.
No matter what of history,
Her soul is pure and bright.
With witchcraft at her fingertips,
The witch shall fly tonight.
© Flora Turrill, Old Meg’s Cottage, A Country Diary.
Art Victoria Frances

A Witch

A Witch
Embracing the Elementals
I am a witch
I stand on a cliff,
At the edge of the sea.
The wnd howls,
Lightning sears the air,
Waves crash against the rocks,
Torrents of rain pour down.
I do not fear the fury of the elements
I embrace them
And surrender....
My voice is torn away by the gale winds.
Air fills my lungs and is sucked away again
My chakras open, my mind is clear
I hear the ageless voices whispering their wisdom I am inspired
I breathe, I suffocate, I am enlightened I am the Air.
Lightning flashes all around me.
I am blinded, yet I see the truth.
The Sacred Fire of Life burns within me, My gift from the Lady and the Lord.
Fire consumes me
I am engulfed, transformed, and reborn.
I am the Fire.
Waves crash over me,
I am swept away.
Pulled to the floor of the sea, from the waters of our Mother's womb was I born.
Her tides ebb and rage through my veins, through my being.
I am submerged, drowned, refreshed.
I am the Water.
I am crushed to the rocks, by the rocks.
Buried beneath the earth,
I feel all her pain, her wounds.
Overwhelmed by the ageless wisdom,
The patience and longing.
I am twisted, cracked, rejuvenated.
I am the Earth.
I lay down my body in surrender to the elementals. Yet I conquer.
I arise victorious, stronger thean before. Wiser then before.
My spirit soars, I am a raw force of nature, wielding the power of the elements
I am the Lady. I am the Lord.
I am the Universe.
I am Magic.
I am a Witch.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018


Samhain/Halloween October 31st.

All Souls Night, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Remembrance, Feast of Apples, New Year...
Samhain is one of the major festivals of the Wheel of the Year, for many Pagans the most important festival of all. It is the third and final harvest festival of nuts and berries and a fire festival. All the harvest is in, all is complete, it is the end of the cycle of birth and growth, it is the point of death. The seeds of the harvest have fallen deep into the dark earth, they are unseen, dormant, and thus apparently lifeless. 
The God, as Sun King is sacrificed back to the land with the seed until the Winter Solstice, and the Goddess, now as Crone, mourns Him until His rebirth at Yule. He travels the Underworld learning its wisdom. This is the time of the descent into darkness, of pre-conception, out of which new life, new ideas, will eventually emerge.
Traditionally the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest now. Boundaries dissolve and all is laid bare. It is time to honour and offer hospitality to, our ancestors.
At Samhain the dark half of the year commences. It is a truly magical time. Death is always followed by rebirth and while this is the end of the old year, it is the beginning of the new year. For the Celts the day did not begin at dawn, it began at sunset, it began with darkness. Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Darkness is fertile with 'all potential'. With the beginning of this dark phase comes the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. The seed now hidden in the earth will germinate in its season. Look for the seeds in yourself!

Honouring The Ancestors
Honouring your ancestors is a very special thing to do at this time and can be done in many simple ways. 
Think about all those departed souls from your life, both family and friends, children may wish to remember pets even - place photographs of them on your altar. Offer them your hospitality, welcome their presence into your home. 
At your Samhain feast, consider laying an extra place for them to join you at the table - cook and eat their favourite dishes, talk about them - re-member them, bring them closer. 
You and your children can make an offering for departed pets by leaving some dog food outside on Halloween night, many night creatures appreciate this offering. Be careful what you put outside - we used to put out bread and milk but are dismayed to find that this is fatal to hedgehogs - and we love hedgehogs!

Candle Ceremony for The Ancestors
This is a wonderfully simple ritual which can be shared with both friends and family, or worked alone. You can include children in it - it begins in darkness and ends full of light.
It's a great balance to trick or treating!
You will need a supply of small candles, either black or white, or a supply of night lights. 
You need a heat proof container or tray of sand or earth to put them in. Place one in the centre of the container from which all the others will be lit. 
Switch off all the lights and sit gently in the darkness. Allow the darkness to enfold you. 
Ask for the presence of your ancestors to come to you. When you are ready, light the central candle saying 
"We welcome our departed loved ones into this home and honour your presence amongst us". 
Allow each person in the circle to spontaneously remember someone who has passed to the Summerlands and remember something about them and light a candle for each person from the central candle: 'I remember Great Aunt Sheila and her generosity of heart....'. 
Allow this to continue for as long as it takes to complete the re-membering. You will end with a tray full of radiant candles. When all is complete, give thanks, and allow the candles to burn to completion.

Seed Scattering Charm for the Ancestors
This simple charm is designed to honour the Spirit of those who have passed onto the Summerland. The seeds you scatter will grow in memory, a gift of remembrance to the Earth. 
You will need:
A packet of seeds of your choice
A small dish
A small white candle in a suitable holder
A pouch or bag for your seeds
The night before your Seed Scattering Charm, pop the seeds into the dish and light the candle. Think about the person or people you wish to honour and remember, and as you do so say 'gone from sight but not from the heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.' Or you can use your own words. Leave the seeds in the dish overnight and let the candle burn down completely - always taking safety precautions. When you are ready place the seeds in your pouch and hold the pouch in your right hand on the way to a place of your choosing. On arrival take the seeds and scatter them, saying 'You are remembered and held in my heart'. Repeat three times.
Where to do this? You can go to a favourite special place of your choice, a place that holds fond memories of the people you are honouring, or even your own garden - the idea of watching the seeds germinating and growing in honour of people you love is very special. The charm works just as well if you plant the seeds in a small pot.
This charm works very well as an offering of thanks to Spirit of PlaceThe instructions are exactly the same, except that when you prepare the seeds the night before the words are ' I give thanks for your beauty, it warms my heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.'
Charm donated with generous heart by the Counter Enchantress.

The Isle of Avalon, Isle of Apples, Isle of the Dead.
Glastonbury, where we are based, is also known as the Sacred Isle of Avalon, or Isle of Apples, and also the Isle of the Dead. In mythology, this is where the entrance to the Underworld is found, ruled by Morgan, Queen of the Dead. 

The Apple.
There are many apple games played at Samhain which grew out of the belief in the Apple as a sacred and magical fruit. The Apple is a symbol of life and immortality. In Celtic tradition, apples were buried at Samhain as food for those souls who are waiting to be reborn. The Apple, cut crosswise, reveals the five pointed star, or pentacle at its core, a symbol of the Goddess. 

Symbols of Samhain
The Pumpkin
Pumpkins are very much an American tradition which has been successfully marketed in the UK and Europe. Everyone loves them, especially of course, children. If you consider that the Celts regarded the human head as the Seat of the Soul, the concept of the carved pumpkin with a candle inside it as the Light shining from the Soul, it becomes just about acceptable........ Apart from this the pumpkin has nothing to do with Samhain.
The Cauldron
The Cauldron or Holy Grail is closely associated with Samhain. It is feminine, and is the cosmic container for all life and death, of transformation and rebirth.
The Besom Broom
The besom is used as this time both practically and symbolically. It sweeps away the last of the Autumn leaves, but is also used ritually to sweep out the old, to clean and clear away old energy, creating space for the new. Traditionally besoms are made from birch twigs - the birch is associated with purification and renewal.
You can make a besom at this time of year by gathering a large bundle of birch twigs tied together. Drive a broom handle into the middle of the bundle - ideally hazel or ash.
The Acorn is the seed of the great Oak, representing wisdom, longevity, rebirth - a promise of strength to come. An acorn in your pocket is an amulet of good fortune to come. All nuts from our indigenous trees - walnuts, hazelnuts, conkers and so on - are pure potential and carry the attributes of the mother tree.
Colours of Samhain
Black for death and endings, orange for the vitality of life within death, purple for wisdom, insight and inspiration.
The Samhain Altar

A cauldron. Apples, nuts and berries. Black candles to honour the passage to the Summerland and the Ancestors. Photographs of deceased family and friends.